Jacks ready for Summit League Championships

Shane Gottlob Sportswriter

South Dakota State University’s swimmers and divers competed in the Minnesota Challenge this weekend, concluding their final tune-up before the Summit League Championships.

The meet was unique for the Jackrabbits for their sole intentions were to improve their individual event times as opposed to focusing on winning as an overall team. 

With the Summit League Championships approaching, the swimmers and divers are working hard to isolate which three events each of them will compete in.

“The purpose of this meet was to try and find a third event for some people,” head coach Brad Erickson said. “For some others, it was trying to make the conference team. Everybody accomplished what we had set out for the purpose of the meet,” 

Erickson emphasized that his men’s team gave a solid performance at the meet, noting that nothing really stood out compared to previous meets. On the women’s side, however, a few swimmers managed to stand out and perform very well.

The performances by some of the women swimmers were season bests, and that is exactly what a coach and athlete enjoys seeing as the team prepares for the biggest meet of the year.

Andrea Budahl competed very well in the 200-yard butterfly, well enough so that she earned the second fastest time in the conference for the event. 

Coach Erickson says the question has risen as to whether or not she should participate in the event at the conference tournament, for it was not originally on her list of events to compete in. She had previously swum in the event only once back in December.

Nicole Grimit was another swimmer who performed very well for the women’s side as she posted a season best in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:53.67, shaving over four seconds off of her next best time and finishing third in the event. 

As the Summit League Championships near, the teams are finalizing their events and tapering. 

“Taper is a period in which our workouts decrease along with our work in the weight room,” Grimit said. “We have already put in the hard work and now during taper, we get the opportunity to relax and let our bodies recover.”

The swimming and diving teams have been training and competing for nearly six months, and a recovery period is certainly needed and appreciated in order to ready the teams for the most important meet of the year.

Along with that preparation, eagerness and emotion are present amongst the swimmers and divers for they know what this meet represents.

“I am extremely excited for our Summit League Championships. This meet is a culmination of the hard work and dedication that we have put in since August, [and] I believe we will swim extraordinarily,” Grimit said. “I feel healthy, and I am definitely prepared to head to Indianapolis and see what this team can accomplish”